Valparaiso has long been touted as the getaway for Santiago residents. Where everyone goes to unwind and enjoy a bit of fun. With its eclectic port culture and rich Spanish history, I expected a bit of chaos. Given it’s pedigree, I thought Palacio Astoreca would be right in middle of it. Although it maintains the eclectic port culture and Spanish roots, this luxury hotel finds itself away from the hustle and bustle of Valparaiso’s interesting nightlife. Palacio Astoreca fully met and in some cases exceeded my expectations of a luxury hotel.
Palacio Astoreca was originally built in the 1920’s by Francisco Petrinovic. A Croatian shipping tycoon. The home was for his English wife, which explains the large Victorian architecture influence. And it is evident. The mansion was purchased by a Swiss-Chilean duo Vincent Juillerat and Francisca Joannon. After three years of renovations they opened last year as one of the finest Luxury boutique hotels in the world. Receiving countless international and local awards. Recently passing it’s one year anniversary, Palacio Astoreca continues to wow visitors. But the question is, do they deserve all the praise through the eyes of a common traveler?
One of my favorite features of mansions turned hotels are the room variations. Palacio Astoreca doesn’t disappoint. Each room feels vastly different than the next. Ornately decorated while maintaining a sense of modernity. The room sizes range drastically due to the mansion floor plan. Even in the same price range. Some rooms have spectacular ocean views while others have city views (not as spectacular). As always, if you aren’t happy with your room I advise you to request a different one. With that said, each room does have a unique ambiance to it.
I stayed in a premium room on the top floor. The layout was fairly simple but modern. Everything revolved around the views. I was able to lay in my bed and see the cityscape out one window and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Valparaiso Bay, out of the other. This isn’t an embellishment of any sort. The bathroom also featured a window into the shower from the main guest room. Not really sure why this is so popular in Chile.
The bathrooms are nicely decorated with traditional Spanish and Chilean fixtures. Toilets are western standard. Later I was informed that all the bathroom tile was from the original mansion. Another feature I’m proud to point out is Palacio Astoreca has one room designed for wheelchair guest with an extra large bathroom and shower. Kudos to them. Many restored hotels don’t think about this feature.
Quick tip, your room key must be inserted into the wall slot for power to work. It took me a hour to figure this out simply because I didn’t see the subtle slot. This is a great “green” feature that many new hotels have made standard but appears to be catching on.
I honestly had no real need to interact with the staff simply because everything was near perfect. Upon check in my host were friendly and accommodating. Everyone was open to help and even booked tours upon request. The breakfast service was especially helpful.
Palacio Astoreca has additional facilities catering to even the most discerning of taste. Two areas truly shine at Astoreca. Their unique spa and world class restaurant. Both located on the basement level of the hotel, each provides outstanding service and value to customers.
The spa features an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, and massage room. I especially enjoyed the pool and hot tub. Their hot tub is a wood fed design located in a side nook of the building that acts as an atrium with a sky view. Their indoor pool is located in a dark corner of the basement giving it a “cove” feel. Just show up with a bathing suit and they have everything else you need.
The main attraction here is Alegre. Possibly the best restaurant in South America. Run by acclaim chef Sergio Barraso, Alegre offers an unique culinary experience. I usually don’t enjoy these kinds of places especially given the price point. But Alegre really was worth the premium price. No matter what your budget is this place is worth it (you don’t need to be a guest to dine here).
Palacio Astoreca’s location will be paradise for some and a nightmare for others. Located a stone’s throw from Valparaiso Bay and next door to the Palacio Baburizza Art Museum, the Palacio Astoreca is located in an area rich in history. The problem arises when you try to leave the area.
There really aren’t many dining options around Palacio Astoreca outside of a few mid to high restaurants. Late night eateries are nonexistent. You won’t see many taxis in the area and must call for one which takes about 35 minutes. The reception team are more than helpful. Note, taxis are quite a bit more expensive than in Santiago.
For others, the solitude is welcome in such a bustling city. At night you won’t hear anything but the sounds of the wind. The area is very quiet and tranquil. But if you’re a night owl like myself don’t expect much to do.
Who Should Stay Here?
Palacio Astoreca is ideal for older and business travelers as well as couples. I wouldn’t recommend it for families with teens simply because they would likely get bored. Couples will find Astoreca ideal for a weekend getaway. As a writer, I found the solitude refreshing. The sounds from the bay really add an ambiance hard to match. If you’re looking for a place close to the nightlife this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a place with outstanding rooms and quiet solitude then you’ve found it.
Although billed as a luxury boutique hotel I find the price point to be reasonable for such accommodations. Especially in Chile, a place where hotels aren’t exactly cheap. The spa and restaurant really make Palacio Astoreca a little oasis. You don’t need to leave the hotel. Their attention to detail, preservation of culture, embrace of modernity, and friendly staff make this hotel one of the best in the world and certainly worth a stay.
Brought to you by:
Monte Alegre 149, Valparaíso, Chile
+56 32 327 7700